Duped by a fake consultancy farm that handed out fake appointment letters on behalf of 10 multinational companies,
hundreds of engineering graduates of a private deemed university in Bhubaneswar on Thursday started a fast-unto-death strike before the university man gate.
On Wednesday, the students had gathered before the campus of Siksha O Anusandhan university in Khandagiri area of Bhubaneswar after they learnt that the appointment letters issued during placement session in March-April this year were fake. At least 50 of the 400-odd B Tech graduates who had secured jobs during campus placement had turned up at the Gurgaon offices of several MNCs, but were told that none of them have hired any graduates from the said university.
Though the university officials offered them monthly stipend of Rs 20,000 or admission to M Tech and MBA classes in the institution without any tuition fee, the students demanded the promise in writing. The students said they have started the hunger strike as SOA officials did not respond to their demands while the university authorities
asked the students to clarify their stand on the offers by May 31.
“The university vice-chancellor is sitting comfortably in his air-conditioned chamber focusing on first year admissions. But he has no time to meet us and discuss our issues yet,” said one of the students. Early in the morning, the agitating students tried to force their way into the campus, but were prevented bt the two platoons of police deployed there.
Yesterday, an FIR was registered under sections 468, 471, 419, 420 of the Indian Penal Code against the placement consultancy that had allegedly taken the students for a ride. “We have requested the university to provide all the documents available with them and agreement that was in place with the consultants,” said YB Khurania, Police Commissioner of Bhubaneswar-Cuttack police commissionerate.
Schneider Electric, one of the 10 firms where some of the university students received job offers, in a statement said it is dismayed to learn about students being taken for a ride. “Schneider Electric works with empaneled universities/colleges across the country and follows a rigorous process of selection which is transparent and responsible. We hope the administration will be able to book the individuals responsible for this misrepresentation, soon. Schneider Electric does not charge any remuneration at any phase of the recruitment process and has not authorised agencies/partners to collect any fee for recruitment either,” a statement from the company said.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra demanded that action should be taken against all organisations conducting such fake placement drives. “There is also scope for action to be taken under law and to bring the matter under the purview of law effectively, amendments can also be made by the state government,” said Mishra, adding that if the aggrieved students approach him, he would raise the issue in Assembly. Odisha higher education minister Anant Das has said the state government would consider the action as per law in cases of fake placement drives.